TPWD News Release — Feb. 18, 2008
ATHENS, Texas — Fly Fish Texas is a family reunion, fly fishing school, tackle show and fishing trip all rolled into one.
The annual event takes place this year March 8 at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center. Show hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. All Fly Fish Texas activities are free with regular paid admission to the center.
Since 2000, Fly Fish Texas has introduced thousands of people to fly fishing, many of whom shared two common misconceptions: one, that Texas is not a fly fishing state, and two, that they could not learn to fly fish.
Neither notion could be further from the truth, say the seasoned fly anglers who volunteer each year to teach everything from knot-tying to two-handed casting.
"I’ve seen this happen a lot at Fly Fish Texas," said casting instructor Steve Hollensed. "People take a casting lesson for the first time and start forming a loop, and you can almost see the light come on in their heads. They suddenly realize they can cast a fly, they can fly fish, and they are smiling really big. That’s the best thing I can think of, and that’s why I feel good about Fly Fish Texas."
"Fly Fish Texas is a great show and the only event of its kind," said Walter McClendon of Dallas, who has organized the show since its beginning. "Other shows cater to people who are already fly fishers, but we try to introduce fly fishing to the public, and we think that is better."
"We take people from ‘This is a fly’ to ‘This is a fish-you’ve caught one,’" explained Allen Crise, who co-chairs the casting lessons. "What amazes me is it all comes together with volunteers, instructors who know every kind of fishing in Texas, from Lake Texoma to the coast."
Fly Fish Texas focuses on helping people master the set of skills required for fly fishing. Instructors hold classes throughout the day on everything from fly-casting to fly-tying to knot tying. This is a hands-on event, and visitors are encouraged to participate. True beginners can join one of the casting classes where rods and reels are provided. Classes are offered on particular casting problems, how to set up tackle, fly selection and more. Seminars give information on subjects ranging from how to fish specific bodies of water to tips and techniques for fishing for different species. Skilled fly-tiers make flies all day long. Anyone wanting to learn how can give it a try themselves or simply watch.
One of the things that makes Fly Fish Texas so popular with beginners and experts alike is that the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center has several ponds and streams stocked with rainbow trout, largemouth bass, sunfish and channel catfish, and you can tie a fly, walk 50 steps and catch a fish with it.
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